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Italy analysis - Ferrari get the job done 13 Sep 2010

Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Race Day, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 12 September 2010 Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10 exits the pits and passes Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 to lead the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 12 September 2010 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 12 September 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 11 September 2010 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 12 September 2010

With the team orders controversy behind them, Ferrari got back down to business at Monza, securing - in some style - the win they needed to keep the team’s and Fernando Alonso’s title hopes alive. For the neutral F1 fan it was the ideal result in terms of the championship showdown, with the table tightening considerably as its two frontrunners endured difficult afternoons. The big question now is have the tougher wing and floor tests really hurt Red Bull, or will Webber and Vettel be back on form at Singapore’s supposedly more RB6-friendly street circuit? Only time will tell. In the meantime we review Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, team by team…

Fernando Alonso, P1
Felipe Massa, P3

Alonso survived a tap with Button and a bang with Massa in the first corner after the start, then hounded Button until the McLaren driver stopped on the 36th lap. The Spaniard then got a very quick lap in before stopping himself on lap 37. Where Button’s stop took 4.2s, his took only 3.4s, and a fast out lap cemented the deal in enabling him just to get back out ahead of the silver car. After that he got the hammer down to score an excellent victory for Ferrari on their home turf and to bounce himself back into title contention. Massa was a hard-charging third.

Jenson Button, P2
Lewis Hamilton, retired lap 1, accident damage

Hamilton blotted his copybook with a silly accident with Massa in the second chicane on the opening lap, putting himself out of the race with damaged steering by the first Lesmo. Button, meanwhile, made a superb start and kept his McLaren ahead of Alonso with seeming ease. Unfortunately the team called his pit stop too soon, handing the advantage to Ferrari. Button believed the MP4-25 was better on Bridgestone’s softer option tyres, and struggled initially on the primes, and that was enough to let Alonso make his own stop and get out ahead. Nevertheless, second place put the Englishman back in the title running after the drama at Spa, and McLaren are still only three points adrift of Red Bull.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P4
Mark Webber, P6

Some very clever strategic thinking saved the day for Vettel after a brake binding problem slowed him around the 20th lap and lost him a place to Webber, who once again was slow getting off the start line. As the Australian moved up to sixth after a battle with Hulkenberg, sticking to normal tyre change strategy, the team kept Vettel out until the 52nd of the 53 laps, then switched quickly to the Bridgestone primes. That allowed him to leapfrog up to fourth place, helping to keep him in championship play. Webber regained his points lead over Hamilton, but left Monza an angry man, believing the team failed to make the best of their opportunities.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, P5
Michael Schumacher, P9

Rosberg got a great start and was fast enough to run fourth for much of the race, behind only Button and the Ferraris. Only Red Bull’s strategy got Vettel ahead of him by the flag. Schumacher had a relatively uneventful race to ninth, giving Mercedes a double helping of points.

Nico Hulkenberg, P7
Rubens Barrichello, P10

Hulkenberg was always up the front, chasing fourth- and fifth-placed Rosberg and Kubica in the early going. Towards the end he got a bit unruly and missed some chicanes, then got out of shape before cutting back across an irate Webber. The Australian eventually overtook, but seventh was a decent result for the German rookie. Barrichello ran in traffic most of the time and lost a lot of ground as a result, but took the final point to move Williams closer to Force India in the constructors’ stakes.

Robert Kubica, P8
Vitaly Petrov, P13

When Kubica ran fifth in the early going things looked good for Renault, but as the race developed and the pit stops came and went, the Pole lost ground and remarked later that eighth place was an accurate reflection of the team’s race-day pace. Petrov was always going to struggle after starting 20th, but ran 10th for a long time as Renault pursued a similar strategy to Red Bull’s with Vettel. His late stop, however, dropped him to 13th at the finish.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, P11
Jaime Alguersuari, P15

Buemi wished he’d stayed out longer but said that lapping backmarkers critically affected his pit stop and prevented him from keeping Barrichello at bay. In the closing stages he withstood big pressure from Liuzzi to take 11th, as Alguersuari again got a drive-through for benefiting from missing a chicane, and finished 15th.

Force India
Tonio Liuzzi, P12
Adrian Sutil, P16

The two Force India drivers each blamed the other for the first lap incident that saw slow-starting Sutil and fast-starting Liuzzi fighting over the same piece of road at Parabolica at the start. Sutil needed a pit stop and switched there to the harder tyre, intending to go non-stop; instead he needed another stop for a new nose on lap 16. As he finished 16th, Liuzzi fought quickly up from 19th to 12th, but thereafter lacked the traction to tackle Barrichello and Buemi to get into the points.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, P14
Kamui Kobayashi, retired, transmission

Another poor race for BMW Sauber saw Kobayashi fail to start from the pit lane with gearbox problems, and De la Rosa finish a poor 14th, amid paddock speculation that the Spaniard may have had his last race for the team.

Timo Glock, P17
Lucas di Grassi, P20

Virgin was a threat to Lotus all through and took over the new teams’ race when Trulli met trouble. Glock got off well before rear brake problems intervened, while Di Grassi again had a late pit stop due to suspension problems.

Heikki Kovalainen, P18
Jarno Trulli, retired lap 49, gearbox

Trulli’s gearbox failure late in the race cost the team the newbie honours, and Kovalainen finished less than three seconds adrift of Glock.

Sakon Yamamoto, P19
Bruno Senna, retired lap 12, hydraulics

Senna lasted only 11 laps before retiring with transmission problems, and Yamamoto’s pit stop went disastrously wrong when the lollipop man told him it was clear when the radio man was still leaning into the cockpit to fix a reported problem. Luckily he escaped serious injury in a nasty-looking incident, for which the team were fined $20,000 by the stewards for unsafe release.

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